Women’s rights activist among four people found dead in northern Afghanistan

Sir. Khosti did not identify the victims, but sources in Mazar-i-Sharif told the AFP news agency that one of the dead was a women’s rights activist and university lecturer, Frozan Safi.

Three sources in Mazar-i-Sharif told AFP that they had heard the women received a call that they thought was an invitation to join an evacuation plane and was picked up by a car, only to be found dead later.

“I knew one of the women, Frozan Safi,” a female employee of an international organization told AFP on condition of anonymity. “She was also a woman activist, really known in the city.”

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The source said that three weeks ago she herself had received a call from someone who pretended to offer assistance in her efforts to get to safety abroad.

“He knew all the information about me, asked me to send my documents, wanted me to fill out a questionnaire, pretending to be an official in my office responsible for providing information to the United States for my evacuation,” she said.

After becoming suspicious, she blocked the caller and now lives in fear. She was shocked when she heard about the killings.

“I was already scared,” she said. “My mental health is not good nowadays. I am always afraid that someone may come to my door, take me somewhere and shoot me.”

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The Taliban, which seized power in Afghanistan in August after a 20-year war against the former US-backed government, is a deeply conservative Islamist movement.

During their last term in office, women were banned from public life, and since the group’s return to government, many rights activists have fled the country.

Some women who were left behind have held street protests in Kabul, demanding that their rights be respected and that girls be allowed to go to public high schools.

Taliban fighters have broken up some of the protests and the government has threatened to arrest all journalists covering unauthorized gatherings.

But the leaders of the movement have insisted that their warriors are not allowed to kill activists, and have promised that anyone who does so will be punished.

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